The Future of Us
November 21, 2011
You'd probably just think it was some random play on Facebook, right?
We all know that there's already something out there that tells us what everyone's doing, where they go to school/work/live, etc. But Facebook hasn't been around forever. Hardly, forever, actually, only since 2005.
Which is why when, in 1996 in The Future of Us, when Emma gets an AOL disk - possibly remember those? - and installs it on her computer, the 'Facebook' that shows up on her Favorite Places is so foreign to her. It's why she and her friend, and next door neighbor, Josh think the whole thing is a joke when it starts telling them their future.
Soon, though, they learn that this future just might be real and, after each time they log or refresh the page things are different, they realize things they are doing in the present are affecting the future. They'll have to struggle with the decisions they make - both for the future and the present.
The Future of Us is at least ten kinds of excellent. It's co-written by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler but their writing styles work together seamlessly. Each of the two characters has their own personality and stays true to that (while still growing and developing) throughout the novel, but there's no problem at all with two different writers. (Some books it's clear who's written what, but with The Future of Us everything is unified and cohesive.)
A great tale of two friends figuring themselves - and their relationship with each other - out, this novel has the added plot line of the characters, Emma and Josh, seeing how it will turn out fifteen years later. Some of would like to travel into the future and see how things will be - and others wouldn't dare, these characters sort of have it forced upon them and we get to see how they react. And how it affects their everyday life.
In a sense it's a time travel book without the time travel.
You have to love that the 1996ness is kept true in the book. Things that are easy to have forgotten about (either because you were too young, they were little things, or you weren't alive!) are brought up in this book because they're a part of Josh or Emma or some other character's daily life in some small way. These little things really add to the novel and remind you that you're not in 2011 or 2005 or even 2001, you're in 1996. Yet, it doesn't feel like a dated novel. The characters and their relationships are so fresh and well written that despite the intentionally dating elements, it's quite timeless (unless I guess, we lose Facebook, then that part won't be -but the characters, etc will be).
I'll admit that at first I wasn't sure about the ending, but after reflecting on it for a little bit, it fit incredibly well with the novel and is an ending that works much, much better long term for both the book and the characters (and the readers) than any other would have.
Kudos to both Mr Asher and Ms Mackler for this novel (- I can only selfishly hope Jay Asher's next book is sooner than four years & catch up on Carolyn Macklers previously published ones!).
giant thank you to LibraryThing EarlyReviewers for my ARC of this
(Random, but can someone tell me if DVDs were actually out in 1996 - I thought it was after that, not a lot, but still after that)
Don't forget to enter my giveaway of Atlas Shrugged on DVD - still room for one more winner (ends Monday)